Shhhh….DL could be about to improve (but wíll require patience)

Here we are in July and the season, or at least our season, has ground to a seeming hush. OTAs are over, no free agent signings are being made (or have been made) and the general news-flow is almost zero. At least the good old days of arrests and suspensions seem to have become a faded memory.
This is the time for more in-depth analysis pieces, and unless I hear different I’m going to start with a focus on what I consider to be a key – the DL – and the young players that will hopefully make an impact this season, our new rookies David Bass, Kurt Taufa’assua, Ryan Robinson and Stacy McGee. I’m hopefully that at least two of these defensive linemen will make the 53 man roster.
David Bass really excites me. I know he comes from a small school, which is a negative given the level of opposition he has regularly faced, but he looks awesome. His film is incredible, given time I am confident he could be a real steal from the 2013 draft. At 6-4 and 256 lbs he already has the physical tools to be a 4-3 edge rusher, but the frame has the possibility to put on muscle and eventually play 3-4. Yes he is raw, but this kid as the third or fourth DE this year could really turn into a talent in a few years, given the right coaching.
The other player I see being a lock for the 53 is Stacy McGee, at 6-3 and 310 lbs he already has the physical attributes to play both DT and NT, but it’s his stamina and psyche that need to be the real focus now. The negatives on McGee revolve around his troubled college career, but also reports of him tiring too easily. Our coaching staff saw something in this lad though and they have shown a real leap of faith in selecting him in the sixth round. Apparently the reports are that he is actually a good kid, that with work (much work) could turn out to be an NFL-caliber starting DT. We’ll need the patience though, but hopefully we have another gem here.
Moving onto the less likely 53-man roster candidates and its UDFA’s Kurt Taufa’assua and Ryan Robinson. The physical stats look impressive on both candidates, Taufa’assua at 6-2 and 300 lbs is reportedly the prototype NT type, something that we have long missed in my eyes, but he is hardly the big-time NT a lot of us sought. He attended Wyoming college and really looked good until a bad arm injury took him out of action, which in turn is thought culpable for him falling out of the draft ranking. Here’s some nice highlight tape on this blocker-shredder http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVcqrTzDNfU . He looks stout at the point of contact and could be a long shot for the roster, particularly given our recent weakness at NT, but also generally supported by his seeming talent against the run. Most likely it will be a battle for him with Johnny Jones for the NT position on the practice squad.
Lastly, but by no means least, its Ryan Robinson the explosive Oklahoma State DE. At 6-4 and 255 lbs, and like David Bass, Ryan Robinson has the frame to eventually play both 4-3 and 3-4 DE, something that undoubtedly adds value to a defense that is evolving the way the Raider’s is. Given his size and relatively fast 40-time (4.8 seconds) he has the potential to be bring pressure from the outside edge, but at present he’s really got to be a long shot for the roster position, given his lack of college playing time. I guess he’s one for the practice squad in reality.

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